Our friend Debasish dressed up as Santa Claus to deliver gifts to all the boys, girls and young people at Anna Bari and Lula Bari. You can see by the smiles that everyone was happy and absolutely delighted with their presents.
Joydeb is our home tutor for Anna Bari and he comes three times a week to teach Aakash, Subhash, Bablu, Sunil, Ramesh and Sumon.
During the two months of lockdown he was not able to come and when he returned Pappu handed him his salary for that period.
Joydeb was shocked and surprised and said that he felt he ought not to take the money, but Pappu told him that everyone is getting salary over lockdown, why not him! And if he wants he can give a donation back to shuktara, or work an extra hour here and there.
Rather than the above suggestions, Joydeb is coming now on Sundays of his own volition and running an art class!
Short videos of the Sunday Art Class
Saraswati Puja came early this year – the date varies according to the cycle of the moon but typically falls in late January or early February. This year the puja was on Wednesday 29th January and is the first puja of the year celebrating the goddess of wisdom and learning, Saraswati.
At shuktara this occasion is marked by a statue of the goddess Saraswati on the roof of Anna Bari, usually surrounded by bright floral decorations. Everyone dresses up in their best clothes and the young people from both homes gather on the roof to talk, eat kedgeree (a creamy savory rice dish) and, as seen in the video to the right, dance.
Everyone loves Sunil and we all love watching Sunil celebrate by dancing. Happy Saraswati Puja!
Three specially designed chairs with toilet and standing support were purchased for Aakash, Subhash and Bappa. Now they can eat and do their studies while sitting on their new chairs.
Thanks to your generous donations to shuktara we have been able to fund a tutor for Anna Bari.
He will be working with Aakash (here), Subhash, Bappa, Bablu and Sumon. But already we can’t keep some of the other boys away!
We were able to find Joydeb through Priyanka who is the girls’ tutor at Lula Bari.
He will come to Anna Bari three times a week on the days the boys don’t have physiotherapy.
Lighting of 14 candles at Anna Bari
Chaturdashi is observed on the night before Kali Puja. Fourteen lamps were lit and placed around the house to remember 14 generations of those who have died.
In the video Sunil is lighting the candles around Anna Bari.
VIP Guests at the Kali Puja Inauguration
On the same evening Pappu took Guria, Prity, Aakash and Bappa to a Kali Puja inauguration where they were VIP guests and Pappu was able to speak to the audience about the work he does at shuktara.
Over the years most of our young people have attended REACH school. Pappu took Aakash to REACH for his assessment and as you can see from the photo below in the car he could hardly contain his excitement. He completely won them over not only with his ability to put vegetable pieces in the right place but also with his winning smile.
Aakash starts school next week - for the first time ever! We couldn't be more proud of him.
To read more about Aakash please click here.
If you follow shuktara you know that Durga Puja is the biggest festival of the year in Kolkata. All over the city elaborate handmade pandals are created to house clay statues of the goddess Durga and her family who come down once a year from their heavenly abode for a five day holiday.
This year the young people of shuktara visited the pandals on the 1st day of Pujas which was Shashti and 3rd day which was Ashtami. Everyone dressed up in their new clothes, piled in the cars and went pandal-hopping.
(thank you Raegan Hodge for all the fabulous photos!)